Mitsubishi Electric Unveils AI-Based HMI, Multilayer Cyber Defense for Head Units

HMI enables verbal, natural dialogs with navigation system. Defense approach combines intrusion detection system, secure booting and authentication.

By Murray Slovick, Contributing Editor

A human-machine interface (HMI) for cars developed by Mitsubishi Electric utilizes the firm’s Maisart proprietary artificial-intelligence (AI) technologies to alert the driver about out-of-sight-line objects. The company also announced it has come up with new technology that should protect connected cars against threats by using multiple layers of defense.

Let’s look at these developments one at a time:

Increasingly common driver-assistance systems equipped with cameras and/or sensors are designed to detect objects more effectively than drivers. Also, voice-recognition technology is already being made available in some car navigation systems. Conventional driver-assistance systems detect objects (cars, pedestrians, etc.) and then notify the driver. Sometimes, however, drivers feel annoyed and ignore such notifications, and vague, one-sided notifications can result in drivers taking the wrong route.

In response to these limitations, Mitsubishi Electric has developed technologies that it terms “Smart Notifications” and “Natural Navigation,” which are expected to contribute to safer and more convenient driving.

Information from on-board video cameras is combined with image-recognition technology to alert drivers of potentially hazardous objects.
Information from on-board video cameras is combined with image-recognition technology to alert drivers of potentially hazardous objects.

In Smart Notifications, the HMI system combines Maisart image-recognition technology and information from on-board video cameras to recognize potentially hazardous objects, such as cars, humans, and other moving objects, located outside of the driver’s line of sight (Fig. 1). The direction the driver is facing is recognized by a Driver Monitoring System (DMS). It monitors the driver with a camera and compares the directions of moving objects and facial orientation to determine the driver’s blind spots. The DMS then uses this information to then provide alerts via displays and alarms. Mitsubishi reports that its tests have demonstrated the system is effective in detecting objects and gaining the driver’s attention.

Natural Navigation allows the driver to verbalize questions about routes in a conversation-like manner without having to push a button or use trigger words. The system detects when the driver’s mouth is open and understands voice prompts by using the DMS and a microphone array (multiple microphones that synchronize recorded sound). Importantly, the system not only recognizes speech, but also distinguishes between questions intended for the navigation system and unrelated conversation with other passengers. The driver can engage the system with conversation-like dialogue to provide and receive information in a natural manner.

The increasing popularity of vehicles that are equipped for connection to external networks has prompted Mitsubishi to develop a multi-layered defense technology. It’s aimed at protecting connected vehicles from cyberattacks by strengthening the head unit’s defense capabilities. The system employs an intrusion detection system, secure booting that quickly verifies software integrity during the boot process, and authentication mechanisms (Fig. 2).

Mitsubishi Electric's cyber defense technology works to protect against attacks through a variety of security features, including an intrusion detection system without high-load processing and secure-boot technology.
Mitsubishi Electric’s cyber defense technology works to protect against attacks through a variety of security features, including an intrusion detection system without high-load processing and secure-boot technology.

According to the company, the new technology requires less than 10% of the time for a normal boot-up sequence compared with conventional technology. Its Fast Secure Boot technology verifies the integrity of the vehicle’s software embedded in the automotive head unit and reduces load processing by focusing on attack activities. Mitsubishi points out that the technology for vehicle systems has been adapted from similar approaches originally developed for critical infrastructure, such as systems for electric power, natural gas, water, chemicals, and petroleum, but requires fewer resources.

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